A Word Of Challenge For Church Members

This chapter is specially dedicated to church members who desire to help their Preacher's Kids become better children and stronger believers. According to research done by Montgomery where adult children of pastors were surveyed, it was discovered that at least 80% of the entire Pastors' Kids surveyed have had to seek professional help for depression. One may begin to wonder why this is so, and what is responsible for it.

The answer is not farfetched. Fighting the Preacher's Kids is part of Satan's all-encompassing tactics against the church today. The families of those who spearhead the spiritual battles against the kingdom of hell are prime targets of demonic attacks. However, the painful part of it is that much of these demonic attacks do not come from the unbelieving world, it is mostly from the members of the church to the Preacher's Kids.

So many Preachers' Kids are becoming prodigal by the day and rebelling, and the cause of their problem are the church members, and there is not much that anyone is doing about it. If you are a genuine believer and a member of a particular church, do not join the devil to fight this battle against the pastor and his family. If you do, you will unconsciously be cooperating with the prime enemy of God to destroy the families of His Generals and cause them distractions at the war front. In order not to find yourself in this situation, there are things you may need to do and things you may need to stop doing. Some of these are explained below.

Do Not Forget He Is Just A Kid

Do not see the Preacher's Kid as the extension of the pastor, and thereby begin to expect him to be an example for his age-mates in church, just as his mother is an example to the women, and his father to the men. This perfection mentality is a great burden for such a tender heart. It seems to be more difficult being a Preacher's Kid than being a pastor. The Preacher's Kids are denied the rights to either be normal or to live normal lives. Before you judge any Pastor's Kid, view the issues, first from his perspective as a kid, before considering that he is a Preacher's Kid. This is because he is indeed just a kid; the preacher's kid is just a description.

Do not embarrass them in the public just because they do not know a verse of the scripture you think they should know. That their dad is your pastor does not mean they are born with a Bible software or app installed in the hard disk of their memory. You do not have to crucify a young lad for just a little mistake. Do not expect him to behave like a 40-year-old man when he is just a 14-year-old boy. Take it lightly with them. This is because your actions and your reactions to their actions, always affect them. Learn to give them some breathing space. Expect them to misbehave and make mistakes once in a while, just like any other kid. We all fall short sometimes in our own lives as well. So, do not make theirs look monumental! Preacher's Kids are just pastor's children and not Jesus. The earlier every church member gets this understanding, the better for all the parties involved.

Treat Them Like Yours

If you bear in mind that they are little children or growing teens, you will be able to treat them the way you will like yours to be treated. This is the golden rule: do unto others as you will like them to do unto you.

God runs the same standard for everyone. He does not have one set of rules for the Preacher's Kid and another set of rules for the other kids in the church. Whatever is good for the geese is good for the gander. Man may expect so much more from the Preacher's Kid, but by God's standard, whatever behavioral standard is acceptable for the Church Gateman's kid is also acceptable for the Church Pastor's Kid. He does not have double standards. His stand remains fixed, either for the rich or for the poor. He wants all to be holy.

It is not your responsibility to become the Righteousness Legislator of the pastor's family. If your pastor's sermon is good enough for his kids, then it is good enough for yours too. Therefore, if you cannot expect a certain level of responsibility from your own children (or from yourself) don't expect it from the Pastor's Kids either.

This is not to encourage laxity on the part of the Preacher's Kids. However, whatever high standard we create for the Preacher's Kid, we should allow him to run among all the teenagers and youths in the church so that one will not feel unfortunate being born into such a privileged home. Everyone in the church should live to please God, and not just the Preacher's Kid.

Don't expect more from a Preacher's Kid than you expect from your own children of their age. Being a Preacher's Kid does not make them spiritual superstars overnight. Expect the same from them as you expect from your own kids. It is not fair to hold them to a very unrealistic standard while you hold your own kids to a reasonable standard. This is not supposed to mean we should lower the standards for them or that we should encourage them to engage in unscriptural activities, but that we should know that everyone is striving towards perfection, and if we must rebuke, we should rebuke in love, by rebuking everyone concerned, and not just the P.K.

When it comes to a Preacher's Kid, it is not about lowering our expectations; it is about having realistic expectations. Please understand that, just like you are in some areas of your life, and your children too in some areas of their lives, the Preacher's Kids are also striving for perfection in certain areas of their lives. They should be given time to adjust to certain levels that God expects of them, rather than push them off the limit until they stumble into more destruction and death, ultimately.

Meet Their Physical Needs

The congregants of each assembly have more responsibility than they know to care for and ease the burden of the pastor and his family. The church has fostered a culture that puts enormous pressure on the pastor and his family without balancing it up by showing adequate concern for his welfare. It is this nonchalance that contributes to the burden Pastor's Kids carry.

Care about them, not just because of who their father is, but because of who they are. They are individuals. The Preacher's Kids have feelings too. They have real needs like you and your kids too. Whatever your need is, so it is with your pastor. Whatever your spouse needs, your pastor's spouse also needs. And whatever your kid needs, there is a great probability that your Pastor's Kid needs the same. As much as the Lord has blessed you, be available to meet some of them; let them feel the grace of God upon your life. Make life a bit more comfortable for them than their parents can afford. Being instrumental from God for these provisions will endear you to them.

Some of these needs could be tangible, while others may be intangible, like sending them encouragement notes and soul-lifting texts. If you have a child of their age at home, it becomes very easy for you to know what they need. Every preacher's kid has the same need that an average kid has, hence, every good thing your child needs, he also needs; the need to be shown love and care. Help him to become a better person by showing to him you really care. Send birthday presents. Make calls when he is off to school. Make him feel loved and cared for. This way, he will see you more as a member of his family, not just a member of his father's church.

Correct Them In Love

When any member of the church sins, their sins are easily forgiven and forgotten; but when a Preacher's Kid sins, it becomes very difficult to be forgiven, and impossible to be forgotten. Some church members even feel that the Preacher's Kid should be punished more severely than all the other kids in church just to make a point. He serves as the sacrificial lamb or the scapegoat as the case may be. This is not fair. They also need the same range of grace that all the other children in church enjoy.

Do more of showing them the love of Christ than the judgment of God. Tender hearts constantly exposed to the loving Savior who died to take away the sins of the world will grow to become better believers than ones who only see the Judge of the Universe.

Speak grace-filled words to them. Most church members need to be taught to be careful what they say and how they say it to a Preacher's Kid. The sting of awful and unkind words spoken to some P.K.s when they were still kids can still keep biting them strongly, even at adulthood.

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Rather than keep reporting them all around, piling up accusations about them, or screaming them down when you find them where you think you should not, correct them in love and do not ask for their heads in exchange. Present them with suggestions on how to meet up with God's expectations for them. Communicate what is expected of them in appreciable terms. Do not just assume they should know. Letting them know these realistic expectations beforehand will lessen the pressure on a Preacher's Kid.

Pray For Them

Take time to pray for them. Prayer definitely works much more than screams and criticism. The hand that rules the world can make things straight for the uneasy head that wears the crown. How sweet it will be if about one out of ten members in church are praying for the Preacher's Kid weekly from their own personal houses! No force on earth will be strong enough to withstand their spiritual progress. These prayers will make the church witness less of the Pastor's Kids misbehaviors.

Pray for him and his family a little bit more than you have always done. Instead of complaining, bring the pastor and his family, especially his children before the throne of grace, so that they can receive constant help in times of need. This will help them to remain strong in the Lord and in the power of His might at all times, especially against the evil forces seeking their downfall.

Pray that God will help the children to walk in His way. Pray that no attack of the evil one will cause them to fall. Pray for the grace to live beyond peer pressures. Pray for an increasingly growing relationship with God. Pray for their careers. Pray for their marriages. Pray for their academics. Pray for their spiritual well being. You will soon begin to notice the changes that the only prayer can initiate in the life of a believer.

Allow Them Choose Their Friends

Do not assume an intimacy that does not exist. Allow them to choose their friends; do not force any friendship on them. Friendship with them should be by choice and not by force. It is okay if you want to be their friend but it is also okay if they do not want to be your friend yet. They have the right to choose their friends.

Address Them By Their First Names

Call them by their names. If you do not know it, take the pain to ask. Calling them a name related to their father's vocation already cages them in a tight corner, knowing fully well that all attention will be on them to watch what they do, say, or think. This could help them once in a while, but more often than not, it leaves the Preacher's Kid with some form of psychological trauma. Even Jesus may not be happy if every reference to him in the scriptures reads "The Carpenter's Son"; He was though called the Son of God, but He was also called the Son of Man, and most times He was referred to, His first name was used: Jesus!

Speak No Evil Of Their Parents

Every time you talk evil of your pastor before your children, somehow, the Preacher's Kids always get to hear, and they are not always happy about it. If you say or do anything that hurts their parents, you will end up hurting them too. They may not have the full gist of whatever happened, because their spiritually mature parents will likely protect them from the negative events of the church, but somehow, they always get to know whenever there is strife and division in the church, and they can sense who is at the root of it all. They will likely take sides, and you can be sure they will defend their parents against you. If you don't want to hurt them, don't hurt their parents.

Do not criticize their father in their presence. Every pastor who preaches at least an hour's message twice a week for 52 weeks in a year will preach for an average of 104 hours in a year. If he counsels a minimum of two hours every day for a year, he will have spent 730 hours counseling. If he stays in the same church for 5 years, averagely, he would have spoken for 4,170 hours. It takes the grace of God to speak that much without making a blunder once. This is why one can confidently say, no pastor is faultless. Every pastor will make a mistake that will most likely be talked about among his members. Be careful. Do not say it in the presence of his children in such a way that it will hurt them.

Rather than spread gossips about them or their family, praise their father in their presence from time to time. Doing this makes them believe you really support their father's ministry and that you want him to succeed. This will endear you to their hearts and will make them love you the more.

Settle Issues Amicably

If you have an issue with their father, call him aside, and tell him what the issue is so that both parties can iron it out amicably. This is better than saying things behind him.

Everything you say behind the pastor gets to the hearing of his kids, and they will not be excited to know that you are the one passing such hurtful comments about their dads. Gossiping and complaining will make them feel that the church that denies them their preacher-parent's attention still complains that his best is not good enough for the church.

Treasure Their Parent's Time

Protect their father's time. Do not be part of any high demanding expectations that will put great pressures on their father's time such that will hinder him from fulfilling his fatherly role at home.

Do not put your pastor or his spouse in a situation where he will have to choose between the church and his children. You will be putting him in a very tight corner.

Appreciate Their Efforts

Appreciate them too for their commitments in the church, no matter how little. One of the many ways to make a positive and lasting impression on a Preacher's Kid is to make positive comments about them frequently. These comments, coming from people other than their parents, especially coming from a church member, can go a long way to helping them build up a strong self-image that is needed to succeed later on in life.

Give them attention

If your Preacher's Kid happens to want to share something with you, please give them your full attention. His father has been attending to church issues and counseling members so much that he has used up his words and comes home tired, not looking for any opportunity to talk or listen to anyone again. All he wants is to rush his dinner, have a shower, mumble a few words of prayers, and jumps on his bed, awaiting the dawning of a new day before he resumes the same cycle.

So there is so much bottled up in a Pastor's Kid with no one to share it with. If they have decided to confide in you, that means they have seen you as a worthy friend, do not let them down. No matter how insignificant the information is, it is important to them; so do well to listen. Even if you do not have the right advice to give to them, you may want to introduce them to someone who does, and if they refuse your offer, it means all they want is just someone with a listening ear, someone to confide in. You may just keep interceding for them.

Do Not Blame Your Pastor For His Kids Choices

In the event that one of your Preacher's Kids decides to misbehave, do not blame the parent for the choices of the children. Godly parents may cultivate the soil and make it ready for the reception of the word, but no one can make the decision for his child. The onus lies on the child to do whatever he feels is right, especially as he grows up and he is no longer under the full control of his preacher-parents. Your pastor is already feeling bad that one of his children is misbehaving and putting him to shame. Do not make it worse for him by rubbing it in the more. Rather than make your pastor feel worse for it, especially if you know he did his best, encourage him and join him in prayers for the life of his wayward child. He will see you as a friend this way, and heaven will recognize you as a partner in his ministry.